I was watching the news the other night. Many of the stories had something to do with the Clinton email scandal, and a recent hacking of the email accounts of the directors of Homeland Security and the CIA. Interesting thing is, the hacker was not a nation state or group of sophisticated cyber criminals. He was a teenager….. go figure. His techniques were textbook social engineering 101 and not that sophisticated.
Now, according to the New York Post reporter who broke the story, the hacker was able to get sensitive information on CIA director Brennan’s security clearance SF86 form because Brennan had forwarded it to his personal AOL account from his work account.
Now if that did not sink in, I will repeat myself. The director of the CIA had sent sensitive information from his work account to his personal email account on AOL?
So for us little folk who have to pay for all this, we can take a lesson from the people we put in charge of our national security. Don’t send sensitive information over email. Be very suspicious of anybody calling you from “Tech Support” asking for your passwords or other information over the phone. Be careful with the information you put in websites to get “free” stuff. The old adage holds true.. You can purchase a product or get it for free. If you get something for free then you and your personal information is the “product.”
Now I doubt that Brennan is going to pay a fine or go to jail for this breach of security. You can bet, however, that if a small business was hacked or there was a HIPAA violation on the part of a medical office then there would be fines and consequences from the government. In the same light, few if any of the people on Wall Street or in Congress who were responsible for the last financial melt-down were charged or fined personally. They just say “oops, sorry” and go about their business hoping that the next news cycle will bury the story. If this happens to a small business, it can literally put them out of business.
So what do us working folks do if we don’t have political power or a boatload of cash? Personally, that is a hard question to answer. There are so many things out there to worry about, now we have to include cyber threats?
As the CEO of a technology business, I must keep up with the changes in the IT landscape. This is not only time consuming but it is fun for a geek like me. Like it or not, we are in for one hell of a ride in the months and years ahead.
The old way of doing things is on a collision course with today’s economy. Like it or not, we all need to prepare our businesses and personal lives to adapt. Those that can and do will thrive and prosper. If you hate change, close your eyes and hold on.